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Purdue Research Foundation, PaxVax, Emergent Technologies, University of Texas, NC Biotech, TEDCO, Lumera


Purdue Licenses Flu Vaccine Tech to PaxVax
The Purdue Research Foundation last week said that it has licensed intellectual property related to an adenovirus-based vaccine for bird flu to San Diego-based vaccine maker PaxVax.
Developed by researchers at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, the IP involves genetic modification of the adenovirus so it is unable to replicate.
The adenovirus technology is also modified to transport an extra influenza virus gene, which produces a protein in the host’s cells that triggers an immune response against bird flu. PaxVax said that the vaccine system can also be used for other diseases.
The research, led by Purdue researcher Suresh Mittal, was funded by a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Financial terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

Emergent Technologies Closes $27M Fund to Commercialize UT Technologies
Life sciences venture firm Emergent Technologies this week announced the $27 million final closing of Emergent Technologies Fund IV, a fund intending to commercialize technologies derived by institutions within the University of Texas system.
ETI said it plans to utilize the fund to commercialize up to 30 different technology applications.
Fund IV is made up of several large family office and institutional investors, including San Antonio businessman Red McCombs and two other Texas businessmen. The Red McCombs investment marks his first toward a biotechnology-focused fund, ETI said.
“We have been looking for an opportunity to help fill the gap between the large amount of research funding going into university systems and the limited commercial success of the resulting technologies,” McCombs said in a statement. “ETI has the first model that we have seen which consistently and successfully created marketable products from these innovations.”
Fund IV has already helped form two UT spin-out biotechnology companies in the last six months, and several others are in the process of launching in 2007.
One of the new companies, Mimetic Solutions, specializes in recognitive or ‘smart’ chemistry that can recognize a specific biological marker, triggering release of a drug or other active compound. The second recently formed company is Beacon Sciences, which specializes in ‘lock-and-key’ chemistry coupled with chemiluminescence for applications in medical diagnostics, environmental testing, and biodefense [BTW 03-12-07]. 

NC Biotech Center Awards $175K to Five Companies
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center last week said that it has awarded $25,000 each in business development loans to four North Carolina-based biotech companies, and a $75,000 Small Business Innovation Research bridge loan to another.
The NC Biotech Center conferred the $25K business development loans to Biolume and Cognosci, both of Research Triangle Park; to Agarigen, of Durham; and to TeraDisc of Wilmington.
The biotech center awarded the $75K SBIR loan to Biomachines of Durham.
Agarigen, TeraDisc, BioLume, and Cognosci will use the funds for specific start-up activities.
BioLume is developing bioluminescent proteins for multiple applications; Cognosci is developing medications for multiple sclerosis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and other neurological disorders; Agarigen is using technology licensed from Pennsylvania State University to make commercially viable proteins using mushrooms; and TeraDisc is building a drug-discovery computing platform modeled after a supercomputer at Virginia Tech University, NCBC said.
BioMachines will use its one-year loan to continue developing mass-spectroscopy-based diagnostic tools to detect peptide fragments of proteins known to be cellular indicators of prostate cancer.

TEDCO Awards $200K to Four Companies Via US Army Commercialization Fund
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation, in collaboration with the US Army Medical Research and Material Command and the Frederick County Office of Economic Development, last week announced that it has awarded $200,000 to four companies.
The individual $50,000 awards, made available through the Ft. Detrick Technology Transfer Initiative, have been awarded to the following companies:
  • Active Signal Technologies, of Linthicum, Md., which is developing a noise-immune stethoscope for use in the battlefield.
  • Designturn, of Wellesley, Mass., which is developing a nutrient delivery system for personal drinking water supplies.
  • Integrated BioTherapeutics, of Frederick, Md., conducting pre-clinical analyses of anti-infective vaccines and drugs.
  • Maas BioLab, of Albuquerque, N.M., which is testing the efficacy of cyclosporine as a treatment for battlefield traumatic brain injury and nerve agent exposure.

Lumera Extends Proteomics Research Pact with ISB
Lumera last week said it has extended an agreement with the Institute for Systems Biology, which uses the company’s ProteomicProcessor to identify biomarkers associated with drug toxicity and cancer.
Lumera said the tool analyzes antibodies used by an ISB-developed label-free assay that works with Lumera’s NanoCapture-Gold microarray.
Lumera and ISB

The Scan

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.

Algorithm Teases Out Genetic Ancestry in Individuals at Biobank Scale

Researchers develop an algorithm known as Rye to tease apart ancestry fractions in admixed individuals at a biobank-scale, applying it to 488,221 UK Biobank participants in Nucleic Acids Research.

Multi-Ancestry Analysis Highlights Comparable Common Variants at Complex Trait-Linked Loci

Researchers in Nature Genetics examine common variants implicated in more than three dozen conditions, estimating genetic effect similarities across ancestry tracts in admixed individuals.

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.